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Traveler's Gate #1

House of Blades

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Alternate cover edition of ASIN B00D52X58Y

Simon can only watch, helpless, as his family is killed and his friends captured by enemy Travelers—men and women who can summon mystical powers from otherworldly Territories. To top it off, another young man from Simon's village discovers that he's a savior prophesied to destroy evil and save the realm.

Prophecy has nothing to say about Simon. He has no special powers, no magical weapons, and no guarantee that he'll survive. But he sets off anyway, alone, to gain the power he needs to oppose the Travelers and topple their ruthless Overlord. It may not be his destiny, but Simon's determined to rescue his fellow villagers from certain death.

Because who cares about prophecy, really?

294 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 1, 2013

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Will Wight

39 books6,498 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 634 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah.
276 reviews27 followers
July 1, 2015
I have a lot of questions that need to be answered from this book.
I feel like it was completely thrown together with no consistent thread. Just a bunch of ideas, that although with the right execution would have been great, failed miserably.
I am more disappointed at the high reviews -- my expectations were so much greater than what was delivered.

I don't even know where to begin because I am so confused and..and..and..dammit!!

The book starts out with our main character, Simon, as a young boy, and his parents traveling to deliver goods to a neighboring village. During the first chapter we are shown the basis of the world where Traveler's are feared and if you are not a Traveler, you are in no good position my friend.

The mother and father have a sick sense humor that really took me aback, and I should have known right there, during the first two pages, this was not going to be a good experience.

""It's not always Travelers," Simon's mother said. Her voice sparkled like it did whenever she told a joke, and she grinned at him. "It could have been something worse. Maybe it was a demon. The villagers near here tell stories about a demon in Latari Forest, right where we are, that catches innocent people and cuts them all up." Simon rolled his eyes. Even at eight years old, he had learned not to listen to his mother's stores."

What in the ever living fuck is that about? What mother would tell their child these horror stories. No, but really. Like ever, no matter what time period we're in. I cannot imagine a mother's voice that sparkled as she told her child that there was a demon that tore people apart, right where they were standing now.


But I continued on, thinking it could just be the villagers quaint ways. It was not, this book is filled with awkward scenarios as such. But I'm digressing.

Simon's parents end up in a very bad way by the end of the first chapter. You're left wanting answers for what caused this sudden act of aggression towards him and his family. You're given none. But you are given another mystery, a strange man with a wicked blade steps forward and saves him and what is left of his family. The man returns them to the safety of their village and suggests one day that Simon come find him again.
Also, what is a Traveler?

Fast forward to Simon in his mid teens, he tends his mom who is not at all right in the head with a dash of parental abuse, and ponders what his life would be like if he didn't have to take care of her.

"Simon's mother had finally-thankfully- gone limp in his arms, and he dumped her on the ground besides Leah as he crouched to join her."
TENDS her.


It doesn't get much better from here on out.

Simon's village is attacked, or at least the villagers believe it's an attack, their beliefs were never changed which creates a bit of a muddle for the plot. But we'll continue.
During the attack, Simon is helpless and frustrated that he cannot do more. This is admirable, until we realize his frustration is stemmed from jealousy of his anti-hero. The anti hero is a fellow villager finding the ability to become a Traveler or be a Traveler thus allowing him to help shield the villagers during the attack.(?)(?)(?)

AH! But wait you say, you're confusing me, you never explained what a Traveler is!!
And how did he get the abilities?
Where did they come from?
And why is this Traveler good and shielding his fellow villagers, they're evil right? (per first quote)

Oh, that's right because I have NO FUCKING IDEA EITHER.

Here's what I deduced about Traveler's:
-Good or Evil => The author doesn't follow his own rules.
-You can train to become one, or you're gifted as one.
-They have different worlds where they live.
-Not sure if all Travelers are battling each other or normal humans.

So Simon goes out on an adventure to find the man that saved him and his family when he was eight. But he never finds that man. Instead he runs into another confusing character, Kai. Kai introduces us to his dolls that he talks to, and his sword.

"This is my graceful beauty, Azura." He held the flat of the blade up to his eyes and smiled fondly. "she's got a cruel sense of humor and a nasty temper, but she cares for me like no one else."
This actually turns out to NOT be his blade. We find this out later in the book.
"Kai cocked his head. "Azura has always belonged to another. I was only borrowing her for a pleasant while. But now," his faced turned grim,"now I have to get my sword back.""

It's simply frustrating that the author lost track of what was and what wasn't in his book. He contradicts himself constantly to the point of giving me a headache trying to explain it. I have quotes up the wazoo and I would love to lay them all out, but to what point?

I'm going to leave you with this befuddling little passage.

"I told you. I want to be able to fight the Travelers. I need to, to bring the people of my village back."
""I don't have any talent. My friend ended up being a Traveler, and I guess he was born to it. I'm not like that. I came to you because I thought...I thought that, because since you're not a Traveler, you could teach anyone. But if you think I should study Traveling, I'll do that." A tiny quirk appeared at the corner of the man's mouth, and he walked into a clearing between several trees."You've got one thing right, little mouse, and one thing wrong. Yes, I can teach anyone. Not everyone learns it well, but I can teach them. But what makes you think--" he put a hand out to the side of his body, as if holding an invisible rod--"that I'm not a Traveler?""
What. Just...what.
He wants to fight Traveler's and he goes to a Traveler to learn how to fight them and the Traveler accepts this and is his guardian. Is that it? Because honestly I'm still hopelessly lost.

I would not recommend this for anyone.
Profile Image for Terence.
1,114 reviews345 followers
June 19, 2022
Travelers are men and women who have been granted immense abilities thanks to their connection to Territories. When Travelers come to Simon's village, the villagers are helpless to stand in their wake. People Simon has known his whole life are captured and killed in the process. While all that's happening a young man from Simon's village manifests prophesied powers and vows to save the captured villagers. While others are encouraged by the young man, Simon is determined to save the villagers himself. Without powers of his own he can't stand up against Travelers, but there is still one hope for Simon to gain what he needs.

House of Blades was an unexpectedly delightful read. I added this book to my to read pile years ago, but only recently got around to it. The description wasn't particularly compelling and I honestly just forgot about it, until recently. I wish I read this years ago.

House of Blades has an intriguing magic system. The magic users gain their power from gates to certain territories. The territories are magical domains where people can gain access to the power the domains possess. The abilities aren't given they must be earned. If everyone's experiences are as difficult as Simon's then it's truly amazing that anyone has magical abilities. Simon sought his power from Valinhall. Valinhall is a territory where nearly everything in it tries to kill those seeking to earn it's powers. It makes for many sleepless nights.

The characters were so so in the novel, but I particularly liked Simon. Simon's life became difficult when his father died before his eyes and his mother was driven insane. As a mere boy he became the caretaker to his mother. Simon hates being helpless, but there is little he can do about it until his mother dies. Simon has more guts and determination in him than skill by far. Seeing him struggle for such selfless reasons was inspiring.

House of Blades was a pleasant surprise and I hope the rest of the trilogy is as good or better.
Profile Image for Jason.
1,179 reviews256 followers
June 1, 2014
4.5 Stars

House of Blades is an unexpected gem of a fantasy. It has it all. It is a coming of age story. There is a great deal of world building. Our main hero Simon is a likable lead that is easy to identify with his motives. Most importantly Will Wight has created both a cool main plot line as well as an awesome magic system.

To me the magic of this book sets it apart. I am always looking for the next cool thing that can stand up with The Force, Allomancy, and of course Saidin/Saidar. Travelers are the magicians of this novel. They are people that can access one of 10 different realms and as a result they have the abilities to channel that realm. Fire based, creature based, light based, and even healing, are just some of the realms main powers. None compare to the power of One, the realm of Valinhall, a place that bestows the individual skills for fighting and surviving. Oh yeah most importantly it gives the user the skill set to kill other Travelers.

I loved the fast pace and dark undertones to his book.

The magic is something special.

Oh yeah...what about indestructible 7 foot long swords....

The Nye are creepy and cool.

I cannot wait to read more from this series. I highly recommend it to those looking for a magic laced, dark fantasy series.
Profile Image for Katherine Coble.
1,203 reviews252 followers
February 12, 2014
This is a book for people who enjoy fantasy novels that sound like He-Man cartoons. I have no idea why it's so beloved on Amazon; the characters aren't at all engaging and neither is the story. If you like to read a book where there are endless battles without any apparent rules and a lot of baroque magic weapons (like dragonflies made of lightning with lightning bolt stingers that dissolve your flesh) then this is the book for you.

If you're looking for a story with characters who appeal to you and who grow and develop over the course of the telling...read any other book at all.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews869 followers
June 13, 2022
“They folded clothes, dusted shelves, polished swords; except for the periodic murder attempts, they were perfect hosts.”

Of Pictures and Photos - Will Wight

Will Wight's House of Blades (Traveler's Gate, #1) was inventive and action-packed. I especially liked how Travelers have different kinds of power (and also different restrictions on that power) based on the specific realms they can access. The quirkiness of these realms makes me want to know more about them as well. That said, I sometimes felt that the writing was a bit flat. Still, the inventiveness and intrigue created will have me continuing this series. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Lori Budd.
70 reviews
January 22, 2014
This book could have been so much more. The concept was great, but the follow through not so much. I am glad that I didn't pay for the book, but upset that I wasted my "prime" book of the month on it. I could not get over how much poor dialogue there is. I can not count, nor would I want to, how many times Simon asked himself "What could I do? I have no powers. What can I do, even though Lea is able to stand up to these people. What could I do? Alin could take care of it. What could I do this, What can I do that? It drove me crazy. As I said previously, this could have been so much more. The concept of a Traveler is a great one. I wasn't so impressed with the fact that you could "Learn" to be a traveler. I would think you were either a traveler or not and you could learn to use your powers, but not that any joe smo could be a traveler if he/she is lucky enough to come across one that was nice enough to want to teach you. Simon earned two powers. Strength and magical speed. I honestly think he would need more than these two powers to be able to defeat other Travelers. And I still don't understand what the cape did for him. Why he was handed it by the Nye. I get the Nye wear it, but it didnt' seem to give him any new power or ability. I will not be reading any more books in this series, and I wish I could want to.
Profile Image for Lori Palle.
211 reviews7 followers
November 27, 2013
“They folded clothes, dusted shelves, polished swords; except for the periodic murder attempts, they were perfect hosts.”–Simon’s thoughts, House of Blades

In every prophecy destined to save the world, there is always a savior that everyone waits for to unite the people against tyranny. And then there’s the guy standing next to the worshiped savior with an eyebrow raised and an expression that says ‘seriously?’ Well, this is the story of that guy. Just a regular guy with nothing going for him except for his own need to protect and save innocents. There’s no one waiting for him, encouraging him, or believing in him. He wasn’t born to be a hero. But he’ll do what he can to be one anyway…

“Well, running sounded like a good idea now anyway, but his time in the House had at least taught him one thing; if it’s out of the ordinary, it probably means to kill you.”–Simon’s thoughts, House of Blades

I loved this book! This is one of the few books that appealed to both my hubby and I so reading this was extra fun since I could talk to him as I read through it. I loved the fact that the main protagonist in this book isn’t the stereotypical awaited savior that is common in many stories. I loved the twist that it’s on a regular person from the same village as the prophesized guy; the idea that it’s not just the prophesized one to save the day is awesome. The main viewpoint is Simon, a regular sixteen year old kid loyally taking care of his ill mother. We also get some viewpoints of Alin, the awaited one, and Leah, the captive who also happens to be the girl that both guys love. I loved the fact that we see both Simon and Alin training to be ‘Travelers,’ which are essentially magic users, and how they have very, very different training regimens (you have to read the book to really appreciate the humor in it).

The pacing is interesting. It’s a slow start and continuously builds up, becoming better and better. At the start, Simon is pretty ineffectual, and I was seriously having my doubts about the book. While others, including Alin, can show that they can defend their village under attack, Simon is pretty lame. I couldn’t help but think, ‘Well, there’s a reason books aren’t written about the other guy. He doesn’t do anything but watch!’ But Simon is so tenacious and gets under your skin so that you can’t help but root for such a devoted and willing underdog. The guy just doesn’t give up! And then the author throws in enough crazy to keep me hooked that eventually I gave up and faced the fact that I loved Simon!

The world-building is extremely thought out and detailed. Magic rules are defined, and I loved the creative (although at times gory for those of you that enjoy that–I confess I did in this book) battle scenes. There are magical creatures, sword and sorcery, overlords, and more. At times, I felt like I was watching an anime, especially with the description of Simon’s weapon (which I say as a good thing). The characterization is fantastic, including the secondary characters. Even the ‘evil’ characters are complicated, and in a way, you can see why they are what they are. Simon’s training scenes are great and reminded me of that hilarious training scene in the movie Dodgeball: if you can dodge traffic, you can dodge a dodgeball!

The story is extremely entertaining if you enjoy fantasy with a great underdog hero and a well-thought out magic system, and this one is definitely going up on my virtual favorites shelf. There is some dark humor and there were a few times where it felt like a parody when reading Simon’s viewpoint of Alin. I wouldn’t call it a comedy at all though, but I would call it fantastic story tellling! There were so many twists and surprises, even up to the very end. This is a solid 5 out of 5 for me, and I can’t wait for the second book in this trilogy! Although this is the first book, and there’s a slight cliffhanger, I was very happy with the ending and the resolution.

(Originally posted on my blog; I checked out this book using Kindle Online Lending Library.)
Profile Image for Dianna.
688 reviews11 followers
July 6, 2014
I respect the vision Will Wight had for this world as its a fascinating one with a really interesting magic system, but I feel like there was a disconnect between his imagination and what he ended up capturing on paper. Aside from the interesting world setting, everything else fell flat for me...the writing, the characters, the transition from scene to scene.

The dialogue and the writing itself was awkward for most of the book...there was a scene between Simon and his parents in the very first chapter where his mother joked about an apparition they just saw while they were on their own in a deserted forest being a demon that cuts innocent people up. I thought that was the oddest joke ever. NOT FUNNY! There's another scene where Simon is in a big dark cave with all sorts of dangerous monsters roaming around and he is trying to protect two kids. One of the kids screams and Simon panics, only to find out that she had screamed in jest to get a rise out of him. What kid would do that in that situation??

The political situation between the Enosh and the Damascans isn't explained very well either. The reader is left to puzzle and piece it out gradually on their own. Even after finishing the first book, I'm not sure what the bone of contention is between these two nations.

Wight needs to work better at fleshing out the foundations of the story...(be forewarned, lots of ranting ahead)

Overall, I had major issues with the main characters. For the most part they seemed very one-sided, and when what little character development was there was random and not fleshed out very well.

As someone who reads primarily for detailed and well written plots with engaging characters who grow throughout the story, I was very disappointed. I'll keep reading since a lot of the reviews say the first book primarily sets the stage for the second book, which gets a lot better, but I'm not going in with very high expectations...
Profile Image for Robert Thompson.
169 reviews35 followers
October 14, 2013
House of Blades is such an endearing tale. Shocking, I know.

The synopsis doesn't do this novel justice. Simon has a few problems. First of which being that his parents keep dying. Second, his village seems to be going the way or his parents. Third? He's definitely looking likely to be next in line to die.

Simon's problems seem to change suddenly. His life gets more complicated(more problems). He's still unable to do anything. That needs to change. Just when he thinks it's all over he is saved, or is he? Truth is they are just muddled a bit.

The world Simon lives in revolves around Travelers. Gifted individuals who may summon immense powers to their bidding. It's not something that is immediately evident but plays a huge role in most of the book. The Travelers mystique is pivotal to the thorough enjoyment of this tale, so I won't divulge much else.

The story is interesting, to say the least. The funniest and sometimes crushing part is that poor Simon is constantly overlooked for his flashier counterpart. Makes you always cheer for him to get some recognition. Unfortunately, he's still definitely looking likely to be next in line to die.
Profile Image for Peter.
680 reviews47 followers
May 24, 2018
A boy experiences some horrific event in his childhood which he later uses as motivation to go out into the big, bad world to fight injustice after some cliche inciting incident. Along the way, he meets a mentor who begrudgingly agrees to train him in the use of magic which takes up most of the 2nd act. Finally, our plucky hero, who's nowhere near ready enough to face the bad guy of the story, but does so anyway, has a big fight sequence where he inevitably wins with the help of some deus ex machina. Sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it? Sure, the details and twists are what really make a story, but it's really hard to get into a book when you know how things are going to play out, beat-for-beat.

You probably won't be too surprised to hear that the world is a generic kingdom with a king and dukes (called overlords) which *brace yourself* is at war with a neighbouring kingdom. There's some mysterious ritual where 9 sacrifices are required per duchy every year, but instead of taking the already-dying or heinous criminals, they decide to pick random villagers who *you might want to brace yourself again* don't like that idea, especially since they somehow don't even know about it despite it having been a thing for apparently centuries. Anyway, so the magic 'system' (I'm using quotes here because it's barely a system and more of a plot device that can be whatever the author needs it to be when a certain character needs it) is based on drawing power from some vaguely defined 'territories', where each territory grants different powers. People can apparently gain access to territories in a time of need and know exactly how to use their powers straight out the gate (pun intended), which is convenient when some bad guys show up to attack your village. There is an exception to that rule though since we also have one 'territory' that works completely differently and allows pretty much anyone to gain magic powers... so there's that.

We technically have only one protagonist, but we somehow get the pov of multiple characters when it's convenient to the story and even when it's not, but the author felt the need to answer a question no one had by giving us 20 more and then never giving us answers to them. The protagonist is *how do I put this lightly* stupid, foolish and naive not the sharpest sword in the armoury. He constantly makes the worst possible decisions that lead to him endangering not only himself but everyone around him. The author would probably claim that he's creating suspense, but there's not a moment where you feel any sort of real danger for the protagonist since, as I mentioned earlier, you already know how this story is going to play out. The secondary characters are also weirdly annoying, one from being unnecessarily vague and apparently a bit 'special'; one from acting entitled and obnoxious when they have no real reason to; while another by having a convoluted backstory that's never properly revealed and just makes that character look incompetent or idiotic.

The writing was amateurish and even quite bad in many places. The dialogue was especially clunky and unnatural. Most things are poorly explained and the few that are explained properly, make no sense in terms of the story or world (or common sense). The set pieces are cliched and predictable (insofar as convenient strokes of luck are the go-to source for getting out of most tricky situations). Tropes abound in the story from character motivations to 'twists'. Everything felt rushed, which you'd think would make the pacing feel fast, but which actually serves to make every scene feel incomplete or premature. This book really needed a proper editor to go through it instead of one that apparently cut half the useful information and logical development.

There was really nothing I liked about this book. Being a fan of fantasy books in general, this kind of derivative nonsense is what makes it hard to keep coming back to the genre. When it's done right, it's awesome, but I'm finding that all too often, it's the same story with the same characters in slightly different worlds with slightly different variations of the same generic magic. Yes, I might be somewhat jaded at the moment, but that's what bad books bring out in me. Please don't pick up this book. It's not worth the time or effort.
Profile Image for Eric.
179 reviews50 followers
August 20, 2019
2.5 Stars

This was a book I really wanted to like, but sadly didn’t like nearly as much as I’d hoped. The book starts off with some pretty interesting stuff going on. A boy sees a tragedy. Then another, pushing him toward a desperate path because he’s willing to do anything to be able to make up for what he perceives as his past failures to protect those around him.

First, the good stuff. And despite the low rating there definitely was some good stuff. The author kept things moving along, the action started up immediately and there was never any real slow portions of the book. The world, at least the small pieces that were shown, seemed interesting. The different Territories and powers they provide were a nice twist on a magical system. The concept of Travelers was one that I was really enjoying in the first half of the book. The training sequence was also a lot of fun. A bit over the top, but still a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, there were also some issues. One of my biggest problems was that parts of it felt extremely juvenile. In numerous life and death situations, characters take a moment out of fighting for their lives to literally wonder if they look heroic or if someone is impressed. I get that several of the main characters are young, but man. It was a struggle.

My other major problem was that a lot of it just didn’t make sense. For instance, we have a character who reveals their hidden identity early on to save some innocent people. That character then refuses to ever reveal themselves again, allowing numerous other innocent people to die when they were perfectly capable of stopping it. Another example is a main character being given an opportunity to train with an extremely skilled fighter, but ignoring that opportunity for years, despite their fervent goal being to gain the skills to protect people…….just like the person who offered to train them was able to…..and offering to train this character to do the same thing……..but the character doesn’t do it. Huh?

This one just didn’t click with me. A big part is the juvenile, YAish feel which is a total deal breaker for me. Still, there’s enough good stuff in here that I can definitely see other people enjoying it.
Profile Image for Mark.
414 reviews65 followers
February 15, 2016
Simply put, this book is awesome! This isn't your garden variety multiple POV epic fantasy novel.

It's like Pokemon meets THE NAME OF THE WIND meets THE WAY OF SHADOWS. Perhaps not as well written as those two books but a very original magic system and excellent story which kept me interested and guessing.

This book did have some rough patches. Like I said, it's not the best written book I've read but the story is fun and rewarding.

If you haven't picked this one up yet it is a must read! Highly, highly recommended!
Profile Image for Kyle Erickson.
377 reviews163 followers
June 30, 2022
This is the most "okay" book I've read in a long time. Everything about it is fine. I have no feelings. I feel like I just got the Dementor's kiss in relation to this book specifically and am incapable of feeling anything. Wight has grown a lot as an author over the course of Cradle series and this being even much earlier than that it just feels very much like a debut. Will try book two at some point most likely 🤷
Profile Image for Lazybee.
512 reviews25 followers
February 15, 2016
This book is one of the finest books I have read this year. I am really glad I read this book.
As for the story, it follows around three teenagers and their adventures. It is a pleasant read and will engross you soon. And this book will keep us doubting the light and dark. Highly recommended.
461 reviews397 followers
July 9, 2017
I knew nothing about this book going in besides people saying it was a good series on r/fantasy. I read it via audiobook and I was a bit hesitant when I saw it was read by the author himself, before this book Ive never enjoyed books that were read by the authors because they didn't have the voice acting ability to match the number of characters in their stories. I was pleasantly surprised that Will Wight really did a great job with this, I wouldn't have known it wasn't voiced by a professional narrator.

This is a coming of age story, and it starts off the way many coming of age stories do, with a tragedy that jump starts the protagonists story line.

Simon was 8 when his father was killed by "Travellors" when they were taking shelter in a forest, his father was killed, and his mother was also attacked and left in a state of psychosis, leaving Simon virtually alone since he now had to be a care taker at a very young age.

Simon lives in a very basic village with stick and mud huts with sand bottoms in a very medieval like existance.

Trouble comes when Travellors come to his village and demand a sacrifice of 9 people with orders coming from an Overlord.

Travellors are magic users that can access alternate universes of sorts. The alternate universes are called "Territories" and each provide a Travellor with unique forms of magic. The magic works by forming portals to each of those Territories and summoning things like monsters from those realms to be used in combat. Since each Territory is unique, so are the abilities each Travellor can use.

I liked the world building and magic use in this book, it's been a while since Ive read portal fantasy and I liked how it was used in this book.

With the villagers taken captive, Simon sets out to find out how to be a Traveller so he can get his friends back before they are sacrificed.

He encounters one of the more unique characters I've read in a while, named Kai. (All of these spellings will be guesses since I audiobooked) Kai is extremely excentric and it's hard to know why he does what he does. Kai is the one responsible for Simons training and exploring his territory is pretty cool, it's like a house of horrors where even in your bedroom you can be attacked by mysterious entitites. Nothing is safe, not even your bathtub.

This is a multi POV book with Simon being the main character,but several side characters. Allen is from the same village that Simon is from, and he's supposedly a chosen one who's been prophecised to save everyone. Leah is also from the same village, but she's not what she appears to be.

Simon and Allen use different Territories, so you get to explore more than one through the book which is nice, I hope through the trilogy we explore more of the Territories.

Overall the tone is one of action and adventure, it's not light hearted per se, but it's not doom and gloom either.

I believe this is a finished trilogy so I'll be doing another review of the full series when I finish. If you're looking for works that are complete because you don't want to wait around for the next book this series may interest you.

Audience: People who like coming of age stories, who enjoy multi POV, lots of magic use, and shorter books compared to doorstopping tomes.

Profile Image for Blaise.
307 reviews70 followers
December 19, 2020
More reviews at undertheradarsffbooks.com

Will Wight is one of the most successful authors ever to come out of the self publishing industry. His most popular series titled Cradle has excited fans and reviewers alike for years and has developed quiet a devoted readership. My first experience reading Will Wight is through his less popular but equally as engaging Traveler’s Gate trilogy starting with House of Blades. I didn’t know what to expect going into this story, but the descriptions I had heard surrounding this book really stood out to me. House of Blades contains a prophecy where a savior is chosen to vanquish evil and save the realm, but what happens when the main character is not the chosen one and instead is left with nothing but having to fend for himself and make is own destiny to save his family and village. Our main character Simon is such a person.

Unfortunately for Simon, his story starts off with a tragedy. at eight years old his caravan while traveling through the woods is attacked by enemy travelers leaving his father killed and his mother severely injured. A traveler is a person who can access one of the ten realms with the ability to channel essence from that realm. This can take the form of fire, creatures and light to name a few and these are similar to the warrens we see in Steven Erikson’s Malazan series. Things look bad for Simon until he is saved by a mysterious man in a black cloak, who vanquishes the enemy travelers with his fighting skills, helps Simon with his mother, and tells him if you even need to find me again return to this forest.

Fast forward ten years later, Simon is living in a village and taking care of his disabled mother whom is still injured from the dreadful night long ago. Eventually, his village is attacked and a fellow villager named Alan manifests his travelers gate of Light and he is chosen to vanquish evil from the land. Several villagers are captured and Alan takes it upon himself to go after the enemies. Simon can’t just sit around and do nothing, so he visits the forest and begs the hooded traveler to teach him how to fight. Simon is taken into the realm of Valinhall, a place that bestows the individual skills for fighting and surviving. Simon will need to fend for himself, survive the several trials of the house, and become a true traveler to save his village and change is destiny.

This was one of my longer introductions to a review, but I needed to give you all the full story before we can get into why I liked this book do much. First of all, Simon is a great character to cheer for and he has experienced tragedy in every way, shape, and form. He knows from a very early age the hardships of life and how there will always be pain in his heart, but how you learn to live with it and turn your life around will determine the type of person you want to be. He is also taking care of his bed ridden mother and you just feel for Simon and all the sacrifices he has made. House of Blades asks us what would you do if your back was against the wall and you had to do something crazy to save the people you love? Also, the realm of Valinhall was blast to visit. It is essentially a house with dozens of blades on the wall waiting for a new user, but Simon must earn the right to pick one up. Each room holds a mystery, strange creature, and powers waiting to be unlocked. I had a blast exploring the many secrets in Valinhall and their is a lot of worldbuilding that Will Wight pacts into of novel of less than 300 pages.

I will unfortunately have to speak about a slight negative I had with the story. The writing can be a bit clunky at times and you can definitely tell that this is a first written novel from a well known author. What can’t be denied though is the sheer creativity and dark undertones this novel possess, plus the book moves at a very fast paced. If you are a fan of Will Wights or want to experience an original novel with a completely different story than what you are use too, House of Blades could be for you.

This is the novel that launched Will Wights writing career and eventually set him on the path to writing his famous Cradle series, which I am a big fan of. This story may not be for everyone but the adventure, fun, and emotions you will feel reading this book will stay with you for quiet some time. I started with House of Blades on my Will Wight journey and maybe you could take a day trip here and stay for the night.

Job well done Will Wight!

Profile Image for Book Haunt.
174 reviews42 followers
March 15, 2016
House of Blades (The Traveler's Gate Trilogy #1) by Will Wight Eight year old Simon had heard stories of The Travelers from his mother, but did not know what to actually believe about them.   While on a trip, Simon and his parents have a run-in with a couple of them.  Simon watches as his father is killed and his mother is badly hurt.  Another Traveler comes along and fights the two killers off and tells Simon to return to him in the future if he wishes to learn his ways. 
Flash forward to Simon's village where he has spent the last eight years caring for his mother who is mad and violent. Simon's village is attacked and Simon's friend Leah and other villagers are kidnapped, to be used as a sacrifice for the realm.  Leah reveals herself as a princess to her kidnappers, but continues to portray a kidnapped victim to all others.  Also during the attacks, Alin, another boy who grew up in the village, is revealed to himself and others to have Traveler powers.  As the remaining villagers try to figure out what to do, Simon must make a decision about how to carry on with his life.  He chooses to look for the strange Traveler to learn how to fight and defend the people he loves.
The story then goes to three POVs, Simon, Leah and Alin.  This is where my attention started to wain.  
Simon does not find the Traveler who offered to train him but he does go through training at the hands of another stranger.  He must fend off constant threats to his life while bathing, eating and sleeping.  Alin is taken to the realm of Enosh and taught to use his powers in order to fulfill the prophecy as their savior.  Leah is taken to Damascus and continues to be held captive but is really under some sort of protection while the other kidnapped villagers are offered one by one as a sacrifice.  Simon and Alin converge and battle a bad guy in an effort to rescue Leah.
The book skips through time to the point where I wondered if I missed reading something more than once.  I liked Simon but I was pretty ambivalent about Alin's and Leah's stories.  It's  not a tightly woven story and offers nothing as a stand alone book. A large percentage of books are now part of a trilogy or in some cases a never ending series.    Writers need to concentrate on a completed storyline for each installment in a series.  I don't feel like this book offers that but the entire trilogy may have the potential to.
Profile Image for Joel.
624 reviews231 followers
June 18, 2014
Interesting concept of magic, albeit mixed in a slightly generic story arc. You can say the main character isn't prophesied, but it's the same traumatic thing happens - generic younger male character needs to save/rescue/defeat/etc - cue training montage - fin. The writing is a bit spotty, though decent overall, however there are patches that felt fairly amateur.

The magic concept - Travelers - was pretty fresh to me, and an interesting idea. Simon is essentially thrown into a clown funhouse that's trying to kill him, and has to train from his mysterious trainer in such a setting. However, it bogged down hard during most of this, and was a bit bland. It'd cut away to the alternate character from time to time, but it would be chapters and chapters without it then suddenly you're back with him, going "wait, what was he doing again?".

It wasn't a bad book, the price was wright (see what I did there? ok that sucked) and it was worth a read. I won't say I loved it, because I didn't, but there were redeeming characteristics that I did enjoy.
Profile Image for L.L. MacRae.
Author 7 books345 followers
November 27, 2022
Can definitely see this as prequel Cradle! Kai gives Eithan vibes, and Simon is similar to Lindon - although he doesn't apologise quite so much!

As with Cradle, the worldbuilding in this is most interesting and enjoyable for me. I love the idea of separate Territories, different powers, summonable creatures, various powers and weapons. The dolls are somewhat creepy, but I suppose they're supposed to be like that! Comically large sword gives Cloud Strife vibes, too.

Strangely wasn't a fan of "regular" sounding names like Simon and Alan in secondary world fantasy, but that is personal taste. The creativity in the battles, systems, "paths" are fabulous, and you can really see how Will Wight has grown as an author from this series to Cradle.

I thought it was a fun introduction, expertly narrated by Travis Baldree as always, and am looking forward to reading the sequels - probably next year :)

If you enjoy Final Fantasy / anime / manga / progression then this will probably be up your alley!
Profile Image for Stephanie Tibbs.
155 reviews
June 19, 2013
This book is filled to the rim with imagination. The concepts were really fun and original which I found refreshing; however I wasn't quite sure which route this book was trying to take? At times it looked as if this booked was aiming for an epic, deep story and then at times it read like something short of the wizard of oz... It was a little confusing. I feel like the tone of the book should stick to one pov throughout the whole thing... But that could just be me.

I also wish there was more dialogue. I'm all for action and fast-paced but for being such a long book I wished I had been given the chance to get to know the characters on a deeper level, that way when the action scenes do happen they can be appreciated a bit more. All in all, good debut.

3 solid stars
Profile Image for Emily .
729 reviews74 followers
November 17, 2015
This is a weak 3 stars. It wasn't terrible, but it was really stupid in places. This 16 year old kid, with no combat training, finds a magical soldier to teach him in order to save the princess (never read that plot before). In just six weeks he not only becomes(basically) a master swordsman and magician but he accomplishes what (apparently) takes others a lifetime to learn.

One of my major peeves in any book is when characters have vital information, and plenty of time to share it, but they never do. It's just stupid. Would it have killed Kai to tell the kid a few basics? It's an irritating and lazy plot device IMO.

I'll probably read on in the series just because it's a quick easy read and I can borrow it for free through the Amazon lending library.
Profile Image for Ed.
85 reviews9 followers
August 12, 2013
Picked off the goodreads 'under the radar' list. This is a story of prophecy and a hero who will save the world.
And it's not about that hero. It's about Simon, who lives in the same village, and who has been looking after his mother - who's been ill for many years, since his family was attacked. He's not the hero who saves the village from raiders, because he's the guy helping his mum to safety.

And he's not prepared to wait for the 'saviour' to come, because some of his friends have been lead away in chains.

This was a '2am on a work night' book. (Which is good, even if I am short on sleep)
Profile Image for Javir11.
529 reviews162 followers
July 17, 2019
Había leído buenas reseñas sobre este libro, pero lo cierto es que no he terminado de conectar con la historia ni los personajes. La propuesta sin ser demasiado original, es interesante, sobre todo el tema de la casa, aunque tampoco es que te expliquen demasiado. El resto es una historia de fantasía sin nada que la haga destacar.

Viendo que me ha costado bastante de terminar, no creo que continúe con la saga.

Profile Image for Rob.
848 reviews535 followers
January 5, 2019
Executive Summary: OK, but not great. So far I much prefer his more recent Cradle series instead.

Full Review
When Will Wight was first recommended to me, this was the book/series that was mentioned. Instead I got a free copy of Unsouled and devoured that series.

I decided I should circle back and read this series while I'm waiting on the next book in that series. I struggled a bit with this book. It's not bad, but I didn't like it nearly as much as his Cradle stuff.

My main issue is that I didn't really find any of the characters likable. I'm not sure who I'm supposed to be rooting for, but I don't really care about anyone. I think we're supposed to feel more sympathetic about Simon, but I just didn't care about him for most of the book.

Things did start to change later in the book. I started to find Simon less obnoxious and more interesting.

I did think the world building was both interesting and fairly unique. However since I didn't care too much about the characters, it wasn't enough to keep my full interest as I found myself reading only a single chapter then stopping.

I plan to continue on to the next book (especially since I bought the series omnibus), but I'll be taking a break to read some other stuff before circling back.
Profile Image for Noah Litle.
Author 1 book15 followers
April 3, 2022
A great concept, poor execution.
The writing could have been way better. It seems to be the thing among self-published authors to tell us the story, rather than showing us how it happens. Especially when it comes to characters and character relationships. I mean, do you really have to tell us what his mom and dad are like in the prologue? Can't you just show us what they're like by they're actions? If the answer to that is no, then you have weak characters.
The storyline was... decent... for a first act. I, personally, would not have published this as it is simply because the structure of the story is lacking. I would guess that he could have easily combined all three of the Traveler's Gate books under one cover, and the book would have been longer, but still better for it. Structurally speaking.
Now the world-building... There he's got something. A spark. I wasn't so thrilled with the generic medieval frame world (I'm never happy with generic medieval fantasy worlds), but I love the idea of travelers. And how each world had its own rules, and weapons. That was really cool.
Another thing I appreciated about this book was the fact that there was no clear good-guys/bad-guys. I like how he portrayed heroes and villains on both sides of the conflict. I imagine that's often how wars usually are in the real world.
I'll probably see if my library will buy the second book for me.
I Learned :
The writing really wasn't that great... and the world building (while it was cool) wasn't anything to learn from.
What I did learn from this guy was the viability of self-publishing. Some people have guessed that self-publishing will eventually take over traditional publishing methods. I had thought that idea was ridiculous. I've seen too many poor quality self-published books.
However, this guy, Will Wight, publishes some 6 books a year, or something crazy like that. Which made me realize: if these self-published authors get their act together and start publishing quality work, in half the time it takes traditional publishing houses to do the same, then they'll for sure pass up the traditional publishers.
But that's never going to happen until they start producing quality work. I'm still waiting for that day.
You hear that, y'all? Stop disappointing us (your readers).
Profile Image for Benny Hinrichs.
Author 4 books28 followers
November 26, 2019
I am so glad I read Cradle before this, or I never would have given Cradle a chance. There's definitely a great book beneath everything, but this needed to be edited about four more times to bring it out.

I read a lot of books (48 so far this year), and no book in recent memory has left me anywhere as confused as this one did. There were so many times I found myself asking where did that person come from, where did that person go, when did he run out of essence, when did he go unconscious, where did the dog go? Lots of these I tried to go back and read only to find that it never gives any explanation.

Some of it was just bad editing. We just had how big this dog is described to us, then Alin sees "a small box of pure gold lying on the floor. The box was large enough to make a fine doghouse for Keanos." It's small then in the next sentence it's large.

I think all the Alin POVs should have been left out. I understand why he put them in there, but they were so sparse that they just detracted.

There were things that were introduced near the end, making you wonder why they weren't mentioned before. Gatecrawlers are introduced 94% into the book, which makes it feel cheap.

The wrapping up of the scene where the Overlord's wife is cradling his severed head was weirdly rushed. Like it just expected you to have emotions without earning them.

He switches out the dolls at weird times without any mention of it. Like at the end, he suddenly has a different doll. Then the whole conflict at the end is that they need to stop long enough to get into his Territory. And it's just like. Why on earth didn't you do that when you grabbed the stupid doll?

I didn't quite understand when Malachi says he can't tell Simon anything about Leah. Does Malachi know all the king's plans?

Obviously this came before Cradle, but it almost felt like this was his practice for writing Cradle. The main character is an impoverished boy of 15. Their names both follow the [consonant]-i-[nasal consonant]-o-n pattern. He gets locked in a cave with scary monsters in order to level up. Kai is like Eithan.

I really don't know if I will read the next one. Perhaps, just because Cradle is excellent, and these books aren't too long.
Profile Image for Joey.
18 reviews
November 11, 2013
The book starts out a bit slowly. The beginning of most fantasy trilogies read like a tutorial level plays in a videogame. You're not really playing the game, just learning the rules of the game and how to get around.

House of Blades is no different. It doesn't help that the protagonist, Simon, is especially incompetent--another disappointingly common fantasy trope that's been beaten to death over the last couple decades.

In any case, the book finally gets going at full speed at about the 80% mark to the point where I didn't want it to end when I hit the last page.

The scenario is very clever, turning some tropes like the idea of an infallible chosen one on their head. The characters and action seem inspired by anime and videogames more than anything else, but I like where the story is headed by and large.

I'm looking forward to moving onto the second book in the series which I'm confident will start out at full-speed as these trilogies typically do.
56 reviews
September 14, 2014
I gave up on this one 58% though (and the last ~20% of that I really just skimmed).

This world has potential, and I feel like the author has some interesting ideas to explore, but I couldn't get into it at all. Lots of action and extreme suffering and interesting powers - but the characters weren't interesting or likable, and the storyline felt erratic and didn't draw me in.

Another reviewer said it best when she compared the book to a He-Man cartoon.
Profile Image for Andrews WizardlyReads.
186 reviews326 followers
July 11, 2022
Not the biggest fan of the end of this book. Had a rough start with lots of info dumps. The middle and the beginning of the end was great but the climax felt forced. Hopefully the second book is a step up.

Also did not love Allen’s characterization. I understand what the author is going for a kind of inept over powered secondary protagonist… it still wasn’t a lot of fun to read.
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